Penn State (0-3) at Nebraska (0-2)
It didn’t take long for the TV people to slot PSU into the dreaded noon time position, where we might be stuck for the rest of the season. Hell, in Lincoln, this game will be kicking off at 11 AM. Now, if this band of guys who clearly don’t want to be on the field can’t get motivated for a 3:30 game or a prime-time slot, just think of how they’ll show up (or not) for a nooner on the road.
Yep. “That dullard look.”
Two teams with a total of no wins and five losses between them. Why does anyone care? Who will get their first win of this 2020 season? It would be fitting if the game wound up as a tie, so they would both still be winless.
Performance of both teams to date aside, this is a game I might not want to watch — but will — because even winning will not provide much satisfaction. It will be a game of who can play the worst. How is that satisfying to watch?
This might sound like a pissing and moaning litany, but what do I have to talk about that is positive at this point? — even if Penn State should happen to win. I could say they suck less than Nebraska. Now that’s positive!
Whither Sean Clifford
A starting quarterback who tries to do it all because most of his teammates are consistently either screwing up or who lack the talent to do their jobs is what we have in Sean Clifford. That’s what I thought of him until this past week. Now, I’m wondering whether like much of the rest of the team he would rather be somewhere else, too.
If he winds up supplying the bulk of the rushing offense, he won’t last the season. If he should happen to escape injury, he’ll be too beat up to be even as effective as he is now, which is a joke because a QBR in the twenties doesn’t look remarkably effective. While the ineffectual pass protection and run blocking provided by the vaunted offensive line is part of the problem, Clifford’s throws are off target even when he is not hurried.
Yet head coach James Franklin, who is now frequently seen standing alone on the sidelines shaking his head, has adamantly declared that Sean Clifford is his starting quarterback and that’s that. Let the social media debates wage on about whether Will Levis should get the starting job. Franklin ain’t listening. (Not that he should — thank God we don’t have crowd-sourced coaching in college football).
Good Evening Sports Fans, This Is Howard Cosell
I remember the fight in 1982 which impelled the late Howard Cosell to end his career as a fight announcer. Larry Holmes took on Randall “Tex” Cobb. The latter became a punching bag for round after round, showing that he could absorb constant, unrelenting punishment without dying on the canvas for fifteen rounds while the referee refused to step in and stop the one-sided fight. Even Holmes wanted it stopped. Cosell sat there on the air protesting the continuation of the fight ad nauseam to the viewing public instead of calling the blow-by-blow action. After each commercial break between rounds, Cosell would come back continuing his pissing and moaning from the previous round.
I can still relate to Howard’s revulsion 38 years later. If I were calling the Penn State games this year, I would be acting out instead of calling the play-by-play. It’s that bad. Maryland was supposed to be the Tex Cobb and PSU was supposed to be Larry Holmes, not the other way around, but regardless, I don’t ever want to witness such a graphic mismatch!
Howard never called another fight, ending his lengthy career as a fight announcer with ABC Sports, and if I witness another game like Maryland, I might have to hang up my Sandy Barbour autograph model ass pads, which keep my couch potato buns free from repetitive motion trauma while I squirm on them watching Penn State games.
More Pissing and Moaning
But I digress. I was reminded of Howard’s negative ranting by the way this article was going. I didn’t set out this morning to write a bitchy excoriation of the Penn State football program as it stands today, but that is how it wound up! So be it.
Motivation and Leadership
This team has problems. Talent aside, motivation and leadership are lacking. Furthermore, the talent might not be at the level we had perceived. They’ve got to fix their attitudes before they can coalesce as a team and perform better than the collection of individual talent (or lack of same) that they are. Someone needs to emerge as a motivational leader. If it cannot be the coaching staff, then the players need to take the proverbial bull by the horns. And that ain’t bullshit!
I don’t buy this spoiled child crap that says the loss to Indiana demoralized them for the rest of the season. I sure as hell HOPE that’s not the case. Moping for more than the Sunday after the game is not permissible. On Monday, I don’t want to hear about it. Get back to work!
Who’s Coaching Them?
One more thing. Yes, I know that James Franklin is displaced from his family because of his daughter’s medical condition. I do feel for the guy — it’s a horrible situation. However, it is his decision to continue coaching, and it is not like he is being paid minimum wage. He’s being paid the big bucks. If the distractions are too much, step down or take a sabbatical. No one grants any of us a free ride when we encounter the inevitable hardships of life, and I ain’t giving Franklin one, either. In his case, I don’t think it is he who is doing the pouting. I believe it is his empaths in the media who are making the excuses for him.
No Fans in the Stands?
Finally, I don’t want to hear the crap about players being unmotivated due to no fans in the stands. Maryland and Ohio State were in the same boat, playing away from home yet. Their players had no problems getting motivated. Indiana, however, did have about the usual number of fans in attendance at Memorial Stadium. LOL.
Yeah, I am a cynic. But methinks if you have an unmotivated team and a distracted coach making Covid-19 excuses while other teams are making the most of the sad circumstances of 2020, you have a recipe for an 0-9 season.
Journey Brown Diagnosis
A word about Journey Brown. The diagnosis confirmed by at least two physicians is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle that will end Brown’s football career — a tragedy for him and his family. Our hearts go out to them, and we wish Journey well in his post-football life.
I guess I haven’t really touched on the game or the matchup or any of the usual stuff. I’m too disgusted. Stop this fight, already! Anyhow, I’ll wrap this thing up with the game weather conditions and my usual out-of-the-ass prediction.
It’s looking like fall football weather in Lincoln, mostly cloudy with a high of 56° and some gusty SW winds at 10-20 mph. Both teams have had passing game issues, which will continue, no doubt.
We come to the point where we can agree to disagree: The Official Turkey Poop Prognostication. We disagreed violently last week as I felt Penn State as a 27-point favorite would snap back from its 0-2 start by cruising to victory over the inferior Terps. Well, they weren’t inferior, and they were the ones doing the cruising. So, I’m full of shit, as usual.
This week, the gamblers are being a little more cautious, because when both teams suck, anything could happen, so why risk any money? It’s like betting on who sucks worse. How is that even entertaining? Besides, the noon time slot has some games that could be described as entertaining, such as Middle Tennessee State at Marshall (just kidding) — or Illinois at Rutgers (even more ridiculous). Overall, I might be watching the PBA playoffs instead.
The current spread on this game favors Penn State by 3, with an over/under of 56. Favoring Penn State in Lincoln is strange, given that the Nittany Lions don’t even show up to play in Beaver Stadium. Nevertheless, the gambling line suggests a narrow PSU victory of about 30-26. So who will screw up more? I think you’re better off taking the home team and the points, so here goes, with an additional safety margin: Cornhuskers 23, Nittany Lions 20. They both suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, so I’m on the under.
I’ll be back after the game. Lord knows what we’ll all be thinking by then, but I’ll feel free to share my elation or disgust. Elation might yield to sarcasm, but who knows?